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pontoontodd last won the day on April 19

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About pontoontodd

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    Loves Park, IL
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    search engine, lifted subarus and other mods
  • Biography
    Mechanical engineer, off road racer, trail ride and pre run with Subarus.
  • Vehicles
    1999 Legacy Outback, 1996 Impreza

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  1. More clearancing of the mockup knuckle to allow the CV to be pushed farther outboard. Shortened the diff stub a bit as I found I could put the dust shield from the R180 inner on the front inner joint. Added a 1/2" spacer between knuckle and wheel bearing. Shortened the spacer between the CV and press on wheel bearings as short as it can go without running out of threads at the stub end. Could look into having a washer on the nut end and making it thinner still. Need something so the bearing race stays clamped, the CV itself doesn't do it. Reassembled with no spring this time. Cycles through the full travel now. Still need to space CV out some though, diff stub is pushed in a little too far at full droop. Will probably space wheel bearing out 1/4" more. Brake backing plate would sit in between those two round spacers to get caliper and shoe location right. In the end there will be no 1/2" (now 3/4") spacer, will just build the knuckles accordingly. Should be enough clearance to shift the wheel out another 1/4"+. This is with the bump stop removed too, it would never actually go this high. Comparison of standard R160 outer joint and front outer joint. Gets pretty close to the long bolt and the lower strut bolt.
  2. Yes, it seems like there would be a lot of advantages. The stubs won't be too bad to make but the knuckles will be quite a bit of work. Decided to mock it up this morning. First I bored out the knuckle on the lathe for CV clearance. Then cut the snout off and ground it flush. Tack welded this spacer between the knuckle and the front bolt on wheel bearing to get the hub in the right spot for the brakes. In the final product that would be a machined spacer to bolt between the backing plate and wheel bearing. Turned up a dummy stub axle. Big front axle on left, R180 in the middle. Stub slid into front axle. I need to check if that dust shield from the R180 inner would fit the front inner, that would allow me to shorten the adapter stub a bit. Stub installed in rear diff. That shoulder isn't the right diameter but that's where the R180 dust shield would press on. The whole mess mostly assembled. As you can see I couldn't get the top strut bolt to quite line up and that's at about ride height. Not even close at full droop. Reason being the inner CV is bottomed out. Need to space the wheel bearing out more and bore more clearance in the knuckle for the CV to fit deeper. Also need to check tire clearance inside the fender at full bump. I think I have the 1/2" to 1" I need to space it out but I should check. One issue will be clearance between the arm the parking brake cable pulls on and the bolt on wheel bearing. Spacing the wheel bearing out more might actually help me find a way around that. Worst case I make a new parking brake arm, in the scheme of things that's a pretty minor problem. Since I'll be fabbing the knuckles from scratch, offsetting them farther out isn't a problem. I would like to raise the outer pivots for the lateral links but there's not going to be much if any room with the big CV and strut there.
  3. I've driven the car with the 6MT and R180 a bunch of times around town now. Dust shield scraping noise eventually seemed to go away. Unfortunately doesn't seem much quieter on the highway with the added resonator but is geared a little shorter in top gear. Shifter is definitely much shorter throw (~1/3?) than the five speed and just always seems to work. No matter how half rump roast you push the clutch pedal and match revs it slides into gear smoothly and silently. Shifter's a little weird as it's bent towards passenger side (driver side in Japan) which kinda interferes with the steering brake in sixth. Need to fix that. Also I think it can shift into reverse with the collar up or down so that's not working quite right. Spring loaded pretty hard into third/fourth so for instance when trying to downshift from sixth to fifth it often goes into third until you get used to it. Much closer ratios than the five speed – first is a little taller and sixth is a little shorter and there's one more gear in there. One kinda nice thing is fifth is now in between where fourth and fifth were with the five speed. So it's a good cruising gear for 40-50mph while still allowing some acceleration. Will also come in handy for flat towing. Clutch seems similar, still pretty low effort. I think this rack has a little faster steering than my other Subarus so that took me a little bit to get used to again. Had heard a clicking noise on hard acceleration a few times, I know the u-joint flange was hitting the shield but now I'm not sure that was the noise. Tried launching it a few times, just 2000-3000RPM but with full throttle and dropping the clutch. One time resulted in some terrible rear wheel hop, I've never experienced that in this car before. I don't know how much of that is the center diff not being wired up so essentially being open and biased to the rear. At least once I just let it out at about 2000RPM and it went pretty smooth. Normally when I start out easy and then give it full throttle in first there's a driveline surge like the clutch disc springs aren't right for this engine and car (imagine that). Yesterday I was fortunately almost home and decided to dump the clutch at 2000+ again and there was a little pop and the car wasn't accelerating. Took the LR axle out this morning and confirmed it was broken at the outer CV. I'm hoping this is a fluke as we've never broken any Subaru rear axles and this is one of the bigger ones. I was looking at fabricating some rear knuckles to use the front bolt on wheel bearings though. Would then make rear diff stubs that accept the big front CV axles we've been using. Would make all four axles the same (and stronger) and all four wheel bearings the same (and bolt on). I would probably also raise the outer lateral link mounts to reduce axle plunge, increase ground clearance, and lower the roll center at the same time.
  4. Got the HVAC blower working in the 99 this morning. The motor in the car was doing nothing. I had another one from a parts car that was slightly weaker than the one in the car when we compared them both over the winter. I had also gotten a new one wanting maximum HVAC performance for the V2R. I tested them both using our cardboard flap with weight taped on method. The new one was slightly better than the one from the parts car so I used it. While the blower was out I cleaned some of the debris out of the evaporator for better airflow. This is what it looked like: shop vac got it to this point: Then I put a drain pan under the drain hose and flushed the evap with the garden hose a few times until the water that was running down the control arm and missing the drain pan was flooding the floor. Hit it with the shop vac and looks quite a bit better: This is the motor that had stopped working. Commutator and brushes are definitely worn. Didn't think about it until looking at this picture again but I wonder if new brushes would bring it back to life. This motor is about 50% bigger than the aftermarket one or the one out of the parts car so is potentially more powerful.
  5. Thanks. If you have any specific feedback on video editing or anything else I'm always curious to hear it. Do the Bilsteins hold up and handle well for stage rally? I'm sure the Bilstein pistons are considerably different than the Fox so that would be hard to say. As a general rule for high speed off road use you want: front: stiff compression damping almost no rebound rear: fairly soft compression more rebound but not so much it packs up There's a LOT more to it than that but if you start with a stack of thick shims on front compression and rear rebound and very thin shims for front rebound and moderate for rear compression you'll have a decent starting point. You'll find that even a lot of off road shocks have thicker shims for rebound than compression which just doesn't make sense for high speed off road use. Still working on ours, doing some voodoo not possible with those Bilsteins too. Welded a resonator in, trying to get the drone out of the exhaust for highway cruising. The 2.5" .095" 4130 tube goes in either end of that muffler about 1.5" to provide a robust connection. We'll see how trashed it gets. Exhaust is too close to the tunnel to fit it behind the hanger bearing. Sprayed with some high temp silver to delay the rusting process a bit. Also switched back to halogens for the standard high/low beams. They're definitely not as bright as the HIDs but they always work and I still have the LED projectors for night driving in the boonies. As a final example of this swap fighting me nearly every step of the way, I turned on the ignition for a little while to read the tire pressures. It took me about ten minutes with two vice grips to get the cap off the pressure sensor stem so I could air it up. Finally drove the car after sitting on jackstands for almost two months. The 6MT shifter is VERY short throw. Also you can shift into reverse whether the collar thing is up or down so I should figure that out sometime. I think one of the rear CV dust shields is rubbing, probably a self curing problem. Also on hard acceleration in first something is making noise, sounds like driveshaft bolts hitting something, I know they're very close to that brake line guard I added. Need to jack the car back up and sort that out. Other than that test drive was good, everything - clutch, shifter, brakes - seems to work fine. Drove around with all the windows down and wasn't obnoxiously loud so that's a good sign but won't know if that resonator really helped until I get on the highway. Also still need to reassemble the console and figure out the ignition relay and HVAC fan wiring issues.
  6. While the engine and trans was loose I bought this 1.5" square x 12" long piece of polyurethane and slid it between the engine and the skidplate. A couple times now the engine has contacted the skidplate and caused some kind of massive fluid leak. Hopefully the firmer trans mount also helps and I have added more clearance between engine and skidplate, but this should provide another layer of insurance. First step mounting the hanger bearing was making these offset brackets. Plugs are to weld in the body to bolt the bracket to. Here is what it looks like after a lot of iterations. I welded the crosspiece as much as possible while bolted in place to minimize distortion. Here is what the trans crossmember looks like painted and installed and the hanger bearing bracket test fit. Straight enough, it has u-joints for a reason. There is about 2 degrees difference between the front and rear parts of the driveshaft. This is mainly because I was trying to get that hanger bearing as high as practical for maximum exhaust clearance. Also gets the driveshaft a little farther away from the rocks. This shows the plugs welded in and the welds ground flush. Painted that later. Those two hoses coming out the tunnel are the braided rear brake lines. More on those shortly. While I had things apart I replaced the parking brake cables, one was definitely sticking. Put some better shoes in too. I also replaced the rear wheel bearings and hubs as preventative maintenance. One of the hubs had worn down at least .010" inside the wheel bearing which was causing some slop, but really I just plan on replacing them every winter if I continue to put 20k hard miles per year on it. The middle driveshaft flange is pretty close to the brake lines so I made this little shield that bolts to the hanger bearing so the flange doesn't saw through the lines. This is what the bracket looks like welded and ground flush where necessary and painted. This picture doesn't show it well but there's about 1/2" of clearance between the driver's side bolts and the exhaust. There is room between the hanger bearing and the rear cat to add a small resonator so that is the next (last?) step. I also got the front axles and suspension back together. Installed the starter and pitch stop, reconnected the wiring, tightened the bellhousing bolts. This swap has fought me almost every step of the way. Good example here, the clutch hose bolts right up to the 6MT slave cylinder, then I bolted that to the trans. Bled the clutch for a while, tightened the bleeder screw. Pedal goes right to the floor with no resistance. Unbolted slave from trans, held the piston in with a C clamp (pictured) and bled it again. Now the pedal seems pretty solid. Bolt it back to the trans, pedal goes right to the floor again. Then I realize the release bearing probably isn't engaged in the clutch. Fortunately I was able to push the fork towards the back of the car and tap it with a hammer a few times to get it engaged. Pedal feels pretty normal now. Hopefully I can really beat on the drivetrain when this is all done. I'm getting anxious to drive the car again, can't really go anywhere but it's been up on jack stands for a long time now. Still have to figure out some wiring and then I want to do more shock tuning.
  7. pontoontodd

    Mid mount Brat racer

    Have you driven it yet? You should be fine drilling a few holes in it for track use with your mild weather. Up here it gets down to -20C in the winter so drilling holes in the thermostat doesn't work year round. In my experience EJs run hottest when sitting idling so if it can handle that you'll probably be fine at speed, especially with that big radiator up front. If you do have issues you could try adding a piece of sheet metal or plastic under the radiator that extends forward as far as practical and back 200-300mm so the air can't just flow under it. 73C is pretty cold, 90 would be more normal. Can you reach those switches when you're strapped in the seat?
  8. I'm not going to pretend I understood all that but: You can adjust the rear camber with the lower links. You can just make a spacer for the top of the rear shocks. It's roughly a 2:3 motion ratio with the wheel so if you have 7cm spacers in front (which is pretty tall) you'd want about 4.5cm spacers in the rear. It is disappointing the lateral links in those cars are so short, makes it hard to get a lot of travel.
  9. Maybe similar to stock. Stock seems to be about 2" of bump and 6" of droop, ours are about 6 and 6. We were freeing up the valving some in the rear though so the back end follows the whoops better.
  10. Thanks, crossmember is painted and installed. Surprisingly bolted right in, welding most of it in place must have prevented distortion. It's been a while and I'm not done but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel so figured I'd post an update. One issue I didn't know about (or had forgotten) is that the studs on the back of the R180 are shorter than the R160. Double nut really tight, heat the aluminum a bit, and a lot of torque and they come out. Double nutted the R160 studs and torqued them in with some red loctite. Used the conversion races from http://wordpress.suberdave.com/ The cheapest way to put an R180 in your car. R180 knuckles do have bigger wheel bearings and hubs and brakes but also a bigger bolt pattern, and this way I didn't have to buy knuckles and brakes. Dave is a Subaru nut, check out his website if you're bored: R160 stub is on the left, R180 on the right. Have never broken one of those but I have broken two sets of spider gears now so hopefully that's solved. Stock (99 Legacy Outback) driveshaft on top, 2010 STI driveshaft on bottom. The 2007-2011 STI has the same wheelbase as the 99 Legacy so the length is right. I could have used an automatic driveshaft for my car and swapped the pinion shaft but... The STI u-joints are much bigger (left) than standard. I also really like the fact it has three u-joints, some of the Subaru driveshafts have a CV joint. Unfortunately the bolt pattern on the 2010 is a little bigger than the 2007 (what my diff and trans are from). The pilot diameter is the same though so I just drilled four new holes in the flange. Trans and diff are bolted in, axles installed, rear suspension assembled. Driveshaft is in trans and diff temporarily. The hanger bearing sits about 2" farther back than the stock one so I'm making a mount for that. When I take that back out I'm going to replace the parking brake cables. I also went through the front struts. Trying some voodoo which seems to be working, changed the valving a bit while I was in there. I recently found out that these: https://streetwiseparts.com/collections/bilstein/products/bilstein-universal-motorsports-strut-46mm?variant=1003419633&fbclid=IwAR3M9uVta1yIBAVRKTcX_y6dS3dcJz5TjtoGgum_SlrgzO3rtYuTDYHzQeQ Include a strut housing you can weld tabs to and upper and lower spring perches. By the time you buy four of those and springs it gets expensive but it's an option.
  11. We didn't do a lot of sightseeing as that wasn't the main point of the trip but it was good. I guess we've set the bar high (low?) enough that a broken first gear and having to hotwire the ignition relay don't qualify as serious breakdowns. One of the reasons I'm doing the 6MT swap now is that the 5MT that was in the car only has about 30k miles on it (it was out of a crash test car). I've actually been trying to be easy on first and reverse the last couple years but it still broke. So that's probably a best case scenario, put in a 5MT with 100-200k miles on it and who knows how long it would last. To make it easier to install the 6MT I made this tilting bracket. I might upgrade the screw before I use it again but it worked OK. I fabricated a new trans crossmember. First the old one wasn't going to bolt up. Looking at it later I realized I may have just been able to drill a couple new holes in it. The other main reason though was to stiffen up the car. The stock one is three pieces rubber mounted together. I wanted something that might help body strength. First step was machining these bushings. The two on the right go under the trans mount. The two on the left bolt to the body behind the control arms. The flats are to reduce weight and make tube fitting easier. Also made some brackets to bolt into the other trans crossmember brackets and connected it all with tubing. Had the exhaust in place to make sure I cleared that. I made some brackets to bolt into some holes I'd previously drilled in the engine crossmember and ran tubes forward to them. It would have been a little better to have them on top of that flange of the crossmember so the tube is pushing on it rather than hanging off the bottom but then I would have had to put a big bend in the tubes to clear the trans. Welded about 3/4 of it while bolted in and let it sit and cool off before removing it. I was pleasantly surprised that it didn't seem to have warped at all, it dropped out very easily so it will probably bolt back up fairly easily. Finished welding out of the car and trimmed some things with the grinder. Even with those braces to the engine crossmember it's about a pound lighter than the stock crossmember. The angle iron and tab/gusset are for mounting a skidplate to protect the trans pan. Already have that cut out. Have to finishing painting. In the meantime I'm going to replace the rear wheel bearings and seals and parking brake cables while it's all apart. Have to put in the R180, assemble a couple axles with conversion races, and double check driveshaft fit. It's still quite a bit more work but I'm looking forward to finally being able to drive the car hard.
  12. Wife and I drove to California a month ago in the 99 Outback. On the way we drove off pavement from Phoenix almost to Yuma. Started by driving to some petroglyphs just north of the highway. There is a large group of them that's pretty impressive and a large campground. Nothing else too interesting but there was a long dirt/gravel road that follows a railroad with various side trails off of it. Drove by an irrigation canal on the way back down to 8. Various flowers and cacti were in bloom. Drove by Plaster City but didn't check it out, also drove through the south end of Imperial Sand Dunes. They are enormous, it would be cool to explore that sometime. We spent a few days dealing with family business. One morning we went to Corral Canyon OHV area near the house we stayed at. We basically drove a big loop on the main trails which took an hour or two. Some jumps but not great. The main trails we were on were not difficult but there were a few side trails that looked more challenging. Some cool mountain views. Got off pavement a few other times for short distances, car really soaks up small whoops well at 40-50mph now. Wednesday while looking for a place to hike we went to McCain valley. There were all kinds of side trails, the few I tried were fairly short, but there was also an ORV area and another section of trails we didn't explore at all. The section we did went to an awesome overlook of the impossible railroad and Anza Borrego. The main trail was badly washed out, first gear most of the way. The other trails were just generally rocky. At least one of the side trails had a long steep climb I didn't attempt. I think it was around this time I started noticing a ticking noise, eventually I realized it was only in first gear and tried to use first as little as possible the rest of the trip. A couple days later my nephew and I returned to McCain valley, showed him the overlook, we went to the small mine/cave. He found a scorpion, I think the only one I've ever seen in the wild. We hiked in Morena lake park and along the lake. We saw a lot of coots, a heron and some large lizards sunning on rocks. We hiked to Warlock Mine. It was a long hike but with cool mountain views. Most of it is on an old toll road that is hard to imagine people paying money to drive on. We saw a few different cars, most of them fairly new, that had rolled down the hill leaving a trail of parts behind them. We went to Anza Borrego, it's the biggest state park in CA with 500 miles of dirt roads. Near Borrego Springs are many large metal animal sculptures you can drive around. We drove down Coyote Canyon looking for a place to hike. It started out smooth and got gradually rougher. Did a couple shallow rocky stream crossings. Eventually got to a spot where the trail became a long uphill rocky climb and turned around to park at the closest trail head. Hike there was cool. Saw a lot of tiny tadpoles in the stream. Eventually hiked to an oasis of sorts, a good sized valley full of tall brush. The trail became gradually more overgrown and harder to follow and there were signs the gates closed at 5PM so we hiked back out. Sort of inside Anza Borrego is Ocotillo Wells OHV area. If I understand correctly, at least half of it is open to riding anywhere, the outer sections you have to stay on established trails. This seemed like the most Subaru friendly place we went. Most of the trails followed washes and were fairly smooth. None as soft as the ones in NV/UT last fall. A few sections with winding banked turns but poor visibility. No big climbs we saw. There are some interesting geological formations to see, a small dune area, etc. We drove to pumpkin patch, it was all we had time for before it got dark. Stunt area right next to it. Took a side trail to a palm oasis. We camped at one of the campgrounds (quite a few bathrooms throughout the park). All night and into the next morning it rained. Had no problem getting out but didn't want to risk driving in a bunch of river washes in the rain by ourselves. I believe this is the Gila river, it looked like they had graded large portions of the riverbed. The next morning we drove along the Colorado river as the maps indicated some wildlife refuges. One of them was quite muddy, I eventually decided to turn around rather than get stuck. Not extremely soft mud but we were sliding all over the place even on mud tires. We found some long dirt/gravel roads that go right along the Colorado river which was kind of interesting, at least a few camping areas. The last place we were really off pavement was Kofa National Wildlife Refuge. Just looking for a place to hike on the way back but you would want some kind of AWD vehicle with decent ground clearance and good tires just to drive through the main road we took. It had many jumps but was also quite rocky so I didn't really get any air off of them. Various side trails too. There was a sign indicating a rock hounding area so we spent a couple hours hiking there and picked up some rocks to take home. Camped at Homolovi Ruins near Winslow AZ on the way home. They have a bathroom with running water and showers. When I started the car in the morning it cranked for a while before it started and once running would occasionally die. It seemed like the ECU was cutting out intermittently. Seemed like the brown six pin ignition relay was clicking on and off. I drove to Winslow and none of the parts stores in town had one so I hotwired it. I could still shut it off with the key and just pulled the jumper wires out the next night so the battery wouldn't die. The next day the HVAC blower stopped working. It seemed like at highway speeds it would increase the flow of air if it was on but at low speeds it didn't do anything. After we got home I unplugged it and it's getting 12V. Plugged another one into the connector and it spins fast, so probably the blower itself it stuck or dead. Only used about two quarts of engine oil and no other fluids in about 5000 miles. After we got home I drained the trans fluid and found a gear tooth on the magnet. Decided to just go ahead with the 6MT/R180 swap. Trying to get a core/damaged 6MT to mock up the low range on and will just have to put that in sometime this summer when it's ready.
  13. Video from our trip out west last October: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o2623JxZEjc
  14. We replaced the engine in B's Forester yesterday. His engine has been burning about a quart of oil per fifty miles, one cylinder has low compression, so he got one with just over 100k miles on it. We've also been planning on going through the dual range trans so we took both of them out. Weren't too surprised to see this, same problem we've had the last few times. Low range synchro is smashed to the gear. Fortunately not bad enough that it couldn't shift. Also look between the gear and the bearing and you can see a gap. The gear keeps pulling away from the bearing, we're guessing due to the helical cut of the gears. We noticed this the last time we had it apart. The last time I also noticed this snapring was popped out of the groove, at that time we just pressed it back flush and popped the snapring back in. This time I also noticed there is a counterbored washer under that snapring that hides another snapring that had also popped out of its groove. I don't know how stock this all is, you can also see a brass spacer between the bearing and shaft that is probably not stock. This 1.59:1 low is older and harder to get parts for than the more common dual ranges. We decided to replace the original snaprings (top) with these snaprings, I'd bought them to replace the snapring for the other side of the dual range gearing because that one was popping out of the groove too. Cut the grooves in the shaft deeper and wider, it was a little tough since it's hardened steel and the grooves are narrow but it should be serviceable. Bottom snapring hidden by washer, two heavy duty snaprings installed. Also it's been grinding going into first so I put in new synchro rings for first and second. The old ones still looked good, hopefully it will shift better for a while. He pulled the heads off the old engine and there's nothing obviously wrong. Bores look good, spins freely. We're guessing the rings on the one cylinder are stuck to the piston.
  15. Hopefully the last rust repair on the 99 for a while. Driver's side rear strut tower / wheel well wasn't as bad as passenger side. The strut tower is still mostly intact but has been patched several times. The worst area was the rear portion of the wheel well. While cleaning this all out, we dug/vacuumed a large amount of mud out of the pocket just behind the wheelwell and found a few treasures. Cut out a portion of the wheelwell and some other rusty sheet metal. Cut and bent a piece to fit and welded it in and painted it. It's hard to see in these pictures but we also fit a vertical piece that connects the top of the wheelwell to the strut tower mount. Wheelwell from the inside: Mainly cleaned and welded some other cracks, rust holes, and seams that were separating and painted everything. It's hard to tell from these pictures but many feet of seams were welded. This wheel arch was badly rotted out so I cut out all of that. Added a patch to create a uniform arch. While we're doing all this we're also adding tire clearance to be safe. Also patched the area behind the wheel that is normally covered by the plastic bumper. Paint didn't turn out very well (you can't see how bad it is in this picture), so I'll probably end up respraying that sometime, but it looks far better than a month ago. Overall probably not as strong as the other side but it was holding as is and should be stronger now. Also those tube braces should help a lot. So I think the car will now be structurally sound enough for the V2R this year.